Congress may delay 34-hour restart rule for truckers

Congress may delay 34-hour restart rule for truckers

Transportation Center with TrailersTransportation companies in Chicago and across the nation have been calling for an end to the newly imposed 34-hour restart rule, and they may soon get their wish. The most recent Senate appropriations bill includes a provision that would cut off funding for the implementation of the restart rule and instead allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to study its potential effects.

However, carriers do not need a transportation lawyer Chicago to understand the effect the bill could have on business.

About the rule

Under the new rule, truckers are prohibited from driving more than 70 hours a week without a rest period. They are able to work 14 hours every day, 11 of which can be spent behind the wheel. Those who reach the 70 hour limit must rest for 34 hours, including two consecutive periods from 1 a.m. to a.m. Additionally, restarts are limited to one period a week. The potential bill, which would delay these rules, would allow carrier companies to operate under the earlier version of the rule. Under the delay truckers would be allowed to work as many as 82 hours per work week, which Truckinginfo.com reports will boost productivity an estimated 0.8 percent immediately.

Concerns from the industry

Despite many claims to the contrary, the implementation of the new rules could cost many more people their lives and increase transport costs for all across the nation. According to the American Trucking Association, the provision would not actually roll back the 34-hour restart rule, it would allow drivers to use the provision more often to meet their trucking needs. As seen by nearly every transportation lawyer in Chicago, many business owners and truckers are concerned about having to work more in daylight hours, where congestion and the potential for an accident may be increased.

Irrefutable data

Additional concerns are being voiced throughout the industry. According to Bloomberg.com, when 40,000 drivers’ logs were evaluated and the 34-hour restart rule was not yet in effect, drivers averaged around 52 hours of drive time per week, a full 30 hours less than allowed. Only 2 percent of drivers worked more than 61 hours a week. Many claim that the 82 hour week is difficult to attain, and conditions like traffic, scheduling and breaks must be perfect for drivers to even come close to reaching the maximum.

Carrier companies are more likely to know how to modify their policies to both increase productivity and driver safety following the proposed research period. Unfortunately, if the bill passes it would only delay the 34-hour restart rule for a few years at most, so carrier companies will once again be faced with a decline in productivity when the rule is reinstated. Those with concerns on how the law could affect their businesses should contact a transportation lawyer in Chicago to discuss their individual cases.

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